Homemade Thin Mints

Valentine’s Day is just over a week away, and while I know it’s a touchy subject for some people, I love it! For us, it’s a reminder to slow things down a bit, put away the iphones, ipads and other electronic devices that dominate way too much of our days, and just spend some quality time together. We always cook a nice meal together, usually something a little more “fancy” than we’d typically enjoy. Sometimes that means we splurge on a protein (hello lobster!) and other times it means committing to a more involved recipe. Either way, I always feel it’s a lot more enjoyable than going out. As for gifts, they’re just not a big deal for either of us. In fact, we just had the talk last night about whether we would do them at all this year. As long as I get a card and some Reese’s hearts I’m a happy camper :)

Homemade Thin Mints

One thing I always like to do for Shane is make him his favorite chocolate crinkle cookies. It’s pretty much the first thing I learned to bake and to this day, it’s still always Shane’s answer when I pose the question, “What should I bake today?” I’ll confess I don’t make them often, but I’m always more than happy to pull the recipe from the archives and whip him up a batch on Valentine’s Day!

If you’re looking for a special treat to make your Valentine, you probably can’t do much better than these homemade thin mints. Valentine’s Day and chocolate – they’re pretty much the perfect combination :) Thin Mints were always my favorite Girl Scout cookie, and since I haven’t had one in years and years (side note: I am determined to find a source for Girl Scout cookies this year!), I couldn’t resist giving this homemade version a try. The recipe calls for just a few ingredients, and it comes together without much effort. You start by baking rich chocolate cookies and then you coat them in melted semisweet chocolate that’s been flavored with peppermint extract. Just like the Girl Scout cookie, these thin mints are definitely best straight from the freezer. Like I said, it’s been ages since I’ve had the real deal, and I’m not 100% sure the texture of this homemade version is identical but if not, it’s very close. Packaged up nicely, these cookies are a gift I’m sure anyone would be happy to receive!

Homemade Thin Mints

Homemade Thin Mints
adapted from 101 Cookbooks originally seen on Handle the Heat

Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cake flour

Chocolate Peppermint Coating
1 lb semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and continue mixing until completely incorporated, scraping down the side of the bowl once or twice as necessary. Mix in the vanilla, salt and cocoa powder until well combined – the dough will be thick and smooth, almost frosting-like in texture. Add the cake flour and mix just until the dough comes together – it may be a little crumbly, that’s fine. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and knead it once or twice just to make it uniform. Divide the dough in half and flatten each piece into a 3/4-inch thick disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

{Note: you can chill the dough longer if necessary, but it’s really important that you let it warm up on your counter before trying to roll it out. If the dough is too cold, it’s going to crack and be super crumbly as you try to roll it out.}

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll to a thickness of 1/8-inch. Use a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter to cut circles of dough (or whatever shape you want). Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart (they won’t spread much). I re-rolled the scraps once and cut more cookies. Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes, or until the edges are set. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for a few minutes before removing them to the rack to cool completely.

While the cookies cool, prepare the chocolate coating. Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second bursts at 50% power, stirring in between each, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract. You can use more or less than I suggested above – maybe start with a little less and add until it tastes as minty as you’d like.

To dip the cookies: Drop a cookie in the melted chocolate and use a fork to flip and coat all sides. Lift the cookie out of the chocolate with the fork and allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl (you can tap the fork on the side of the bowl to help but be careful, I broke a cookie or two by banging too forcefully). Transfer the cookie to a baking sheet lined with wax (or parchment) paper. Repeat with remaining cookies. If the chocolate hardens before you finish dipping, just pop the bowl back in the microwave briefly to soften it up. Transfer the cookies to the refrigerator to set the chocolate. Store them in the refrigerator or freezer (I liked them best from the freezer).

Makes about 4 dozen cookies